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March 30 - April 28, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 30, 4:00 - 7:00pm

Strange Fruit

Eleanor Kipping

Performances: Thursday, April 18, 6:30pm & Saturday, April 27, 4:30pm


Southern trees bear strange fruit,
(Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,)
Black body swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
(The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,)
Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh,
(And the sudden smell of burning flesh.)

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

 – Abel Meeropol, 1937

 Strange Fruit serves as both installation and performance space and explores the relationship between historical and contemporary race relations in the united states.

 Approximately 800 Afro picks, purchased from a wholesale supply company that provides goods for institutions and organizations, have been gilded with copper-based gold leaf. The combs define the boundaries of the work and the space between the performer and audience. The picks, identical and with no apparent pattern, sway gently until disturbed. Their origin, quantity, and uniformity comment on the regulation and institutional control of Black bodies, while referencing the Jim Crow south and the violent practice of lynching and abuse once exercised to maintain power and control over Black communities. The picks are disposable and worthless, yet are undeniably iconic to Black culture, identity, and hair care.

 Gold, prized for its value and beauty, is donned with the intent to see and be seen. It has a rich history in Black and African mythology, religion, and popular culture but also revels in a turbulent relationship with mining and slavery – mirroring the history of race relations in the united states. Repulsion/fascination, object/subject, animal/human, Other/White shape the conceptions of Blackness in America. While ‘Blackness’ is branded and exploited and consumed for profit, thousands of Black Americans remain under institutional control, surveillance and marginalization.

 The artist sits in the white rocking chair. She mourns, celebrates, and muses for several hours while humming, singing and reciting prose, lyrics, and notes from a small book. The book remains in the space for audiences to experience and/or recite after the performance. The space may serve as an altar, a mythological Ancestral plain, or even a shrine.

– Eleanor Kipping

About the Artist

Eleanor Kipping was born in Bangor, Maine, in 1989. She is an interdisciplinary visual and performance artist, currently based in New York, NY and Maine. Eleanor was granted an Intermedia  MFA from the University of Maine (2018), and a BS in Video Production and Theatre from the New England School of Communications (2011). She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She also works as the Audience Activist at HERE Arts Center and will spend this summer as the Artist in Residence at the School of Visual Arts.

 GALLERY HOURS:

Thursday through Sunday, 1pm to 6pm; or by appointment. 

DIRECTIONS:

Take 2, 3, or 4 trains to Franklin Avenue. Walk two blocks against the traffic on Franklin. Walk ¾ block to 558 St. Johns Place. FiveMyles is within easy walking distance from the Brooklyn Museum.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

FiveMyles is in part supported by the New York State Council for the Arts, Public Funds from the New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Council Member Laurie Cumbo, the Greenwich Collection, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, Humanities NY, and the Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation.